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Stellenbosch University (2021)

The socio-economic impact of drought in the period 1924-1934 on the magisterial district of Vanrhynsdorp

Rademan, Daniel Johannes Rouxan

Titre : The socio-economic impact of drought in the period 1924-1934 on the magisterial district of Vanrhynsdorp

Auteur : Rademan, Daniel Johannes Rouxan

Université de soutenance : Stellenbosch University

Grade : Master Degree (History) 2021

Résumé
Drought in the historiography of South Africa was often rationalised as a cause for historical events, with little to no accompanying localisation of impacts. This creates a distinct gap in South African literature for more in-depth studies on the impacts of drought. The socioeconomic impacts associated with the poorly contextualised 1924 to 1934 period in the Vanrhynsdorp district was evaluated to identify the specific contribution of drought to these impacts. A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods was utilised to confirm that a prolonged period of substandard precipitation, accompanied by social and economic impacts, occurred in the semi-arid district between 1924 and 1930. The resulting drop in crop and livestock produce between 1923-1925 and 1927-1930 led to food and income insecurity, causing social disruptions within households as economically active members left their homes to find more secure livelihoods. The pre-existing unproductive, indebted and impoverished population, as well as the poor infrastructure and services served to exacerbate the direct social and economic impacts of the drought. The impact of the drought was further aggravated by the failure of relief attempts provided by both government and private organisations, which can be ascribed to relief measures being underfunded, late, unfair, expensive and unsustainable and lacking coordination between relief organisations. The distress led to a migration of people from the more drought prone Northern regions of the district to the banks of the Olifants River in the South in search of employment and a higher quality of life. Although the meteorological drought ended in 1930, the economic consequences of the subsequent Great Depression between 1930 and 1934 prolonged the recovery of the district and led to further socio-economic distress and migration. The study therefore confirms the severe socio-economic impact of drought on the district of Vanrhynsdorp, particularly in the period 1924 to 1930.

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Page publiée le 20 avril 2022